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Now You See Him

Page 5

Life went on.  Months went by.  Eventually someone else, a young girl with a dog, took over his spot. She just sat and her dog just slept.  It was sad to see her, but she wasn’t him. She told us no stories and gave us no shy smiles.  We gave her our coins and patted her dog.  But we couldn’t give her what we’d given him – he was different – we believed in him.

After a while the girl and the dog disappeared too.  Then a small man with very dark, very straight dark hair and tidy clothes took the spot.  He never spoke at all.  And never looked up either.  He just stood with his hat held out.  We gave him our coins too.

After the small, silent man left, a skinny young man with short red hair and a rat on his shoulder turned up.  He had a nice smile and obviously loved his rat.  We gave him our coins too, but he didn’t stay long either. 

Then Leonard’s spot was empty for a long time.  We could still smell the spray paint, but he wasn’t there.

***

I walked straight past him, without a glance.  He followed me and gently touched my arm.  I jumped, startled!  I knew this man. And I didn’t know him.  He looked into my eyes, right into my eyes.  “Don’t you recognise me?” he chuckled, “That happens all the time lately.”  There was that shy smile.  I looked down and saw his pianist’s hands.  He was the ‘after’ photo version of himself.  Or was he the ‘before’ version?  I’d only known him when he was on the junk.

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